Dimitri felt like he had hit rock bottom. He had lost all hope of ever getting off the streets, and he was slowly starting to lose faith in humanity.
Over the years he’d spent on the streets, he had seen and heard so many things that he couldn’t believe in the good of the world anymore. But what could he do?
Worst Five Years Of His Life
Five years ago, Dimitri lost his job, and before he knew what was going on, everything was gone. His life, his family, and everything he’d worked so hard for had disappeared. He was all alone.
With no one to help him out of the rut he had fallen into, Dimitri ended up on the streets. That was where he spent the last five years.
He Had Enough
Dimitri was tired. He had had enough of his terrible life in the city and of the people who constantly insulted him and treated him like his life meant nothing.
They were so cruel to him, but they didn’t even know how he ended up that way. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to work. He just couldn’t find a job.
A New Plan
But Dimitri had a plan to put it all behind him. He packed up his stuff and used the bit of money he managed to collect to buy supplies. After he had everything he needed, he headed into the forest.
He had no clear destination in mind. He just wanted out of the city, and being a wanderer seemed to fit the plan perfectly. If others could do it, why couldn’t he?
He Ran Out Of Supplies
Dimitri’s plan was flawed, though. He had very little money and couldn’t buy that many supplies. It only took about a week for all of his rations to run out.
He was in the middle of the forest with no water and not a grain of food. But he kept going, determined to live his life the way he wanted to.
Another week passed by, and Dimitri was starting to feel the effects of starvation and dehydration. His body was weak, and it was only a matter of time before he collapsed.
Dimitri knew it couldn’t go on like that anymore and made the hard choice to return to civilization. But he couldn’t walk all the way back to the city.
Not All Hope Was Lost
Dmitri still had a bit of hope left. He thought that a passerby might feel bad for him and give him a ride back to the city or offer him some kind of help.
He took a seat on the side of the road, exhausted from all the walking and not expecting what would happen next. When he heard the footsteps, he was caught completely off guard.
When Dmitri looked up, the air rushed out of his lungs. Standing in front of him was a massive reindeer. Dmitri instantly knew it was a bad sign.
Such animals didn’t approach humans unless they meant to attack them. He quickly squeezed his eyes shut, anticipating the attack. But to his great astonishment, nothing happened.
It Didn’t Attack
Dmitri peeked up at the massive reindeer and saw that it was cautiously approaching him. The reindeer let out a strange sound and then gently pushed Dmitri with his nose.
Dmitri had no idea what to do. He didn’t have any experience with animals, especially not wild ones. He moved back a little, hoping it would help the reindeer to remain calm.
What Did It Want?
The animal pushed Dmitri again, and he started wondering if it wanted something for him. Unfortunately, Dimitri had nothing to offer.
Dmitri put his hands up in defeat and started explaining himself to the animal. He knew it was silly, but he didn’t know what else to do. It was the first thing that came to mind.
But the reindeer kept pushing, and because of that, Dmitri kept moving. Before long, he was sitting in the middle of the road, which caused a pileup of cars.
However, not even that stopped the reindeer. Dmitri was running out of options and ideas. What would he do next? How would he stop the reindeer from doing whatever it planned on doing?
Everyone Was Watching
Dmitri glanced around and realized that everyone was watching the encounter. Some were clearly frustrated, while others seemed intrigued by what they saw.
But then a man got out of his car and approached Dmitri. He asked Dmitri if everything was okay and if he needed help. But Dmitri was fixed on the rifle he was holding.
He Didn’t Want That Kind Of Help
Dmitri wanted nothing more than to accept the help the kind stranger was offering, but something held him back. He didn’t want the reindeer to lose its life because he made a few bad decisions and ended up on the side of the road.
He had to do something before it was too late.
They Had To Move Out Of The Road
Dmitri was still exhausted, but he knew he had to get himself and the reindeer off the road before the man with the rifle made the decision for him.
He gathered all his strength and pushed to his feet as he tried to come up with a plan. But moving the reindeer wasn’t as difficult as he thought it would be.
As Dmitri moved, so did the reindeer. He walked off the road, and the reindeer followed. That was when he realized that his second guess was right.
The reindeer wasn’t trying to harm him. It needed his help with something, and it wouldn’t go away until he did what it wanted him to do. But what could push an animal to do something so drastic?
Following The Reindeer
Once they reached the side of the road, Dmitri stopped, but the reindeer kept going. When Dmitri didn’t follow, it looked back and grunted.
Dmitri took that as a sign that he wasn’t out of the woods yet and followed the massive creature back into the forest. It wasn’t like he had anywhere else to go, and the reindeer didn’t give him much of a choice either.
Running On Adrenaline
By that point, Dmitri’s body was about to give up. But thanks to his encounter with the reindeer and the guy with the gun, his adrenaline spiked so much that he didn’t feel the exhaustion.
His muscles were on fire, and his bones felt like they were on the brink of breaking, but Dmitri pushed on. He wanted to find out why the reindeer was doing what it did, and he wouldn’t stop until he had the answer.
A Hidden Valley
The two of them walked for what felt like hours before Dmitri saw a valley ahead of them. He wondered if the reindeer needed his help or if it was actually helping him.
The valley was filled with ripe berries that he could eat, and on the edge, there was a little waterfall where he could quench his thirst. It would’ve been perfect if he had found the place a few days ago.
Was It The Right Choice?
As Dmitri sat on a log of wood and nibbled on his berries, he started wondering if he had made the right choice by following the reindeer.
He appreciated the food and water, but it was clear that the valley was just a rest stop. The reindeer had not reached its destination yet, and Dmitri didn’t know how far they still had to go.
The Adrenaline Wore Off
After catching up on some much-needed rest Dmitri and the reindeer took off again. This time Dmitri was certain that hours had passed and his exhaustion was catching up on him.
Even though he ate and drank, he could feel that his body had reached its breaking point. And if they didn’t reach their destination soon, he would collapse.
Deeper Into The Forest
The pair headed deeper into the forest, and it was clear that the area they were in hadn’t seen humans in ages.
Dmitri had vegetation coming up to his thighs, and it made it difficult to get through the forest. But just as he was about to give up, he saw something in the distance.
A Small Clearing
Not too far from where he was standing, the forest opened up into a little meadow. If he were lucky, the reindeer would decide that it was time for another break.
Holding onto his hope, he pushed through, and soon he was standing on the edge of a little hill, looking down at the lush forest below.
He Saw Something In The Distance
The reindeer grunted while looking to the west, and Dmitri realized that whatever they were looking for must be in that direction.
He shielded his eyes to get a better view and saw something moving at the other edge of the meadow. Dmitri blinked, thinking that he was hallucinating, but it moved again, and this time he was sure it was real.
Dmitri stumbled closer to the thing that was moving and heard little grunts. That was enough for his adrenaline to kick back in, and he rushed over.
As he got close, he saw that hidden in the vegetation, there were two reindeer babies. Dmitri laughed as relief flooded him, but that relief would be short-lived.
They Were In Bad Shape
Pulling the vegetation aside, Dmitri realized that the two babies were in very bad shape. One was extremely skinny and frail, but the other had a serious injury on its hoof.
So that’s why she led me here, he thought to himself. Those babies needed help right away. Otherwise, they wouldn’t survive. From the looks of the injury, they had made it just in time. But what could Dmitri do?
He Had Some Experience
Before he became homeless, Dmitri was a nurse, but he had experience with humans, not animals. And he didn’t have any equipment to help him deal with an injury.
However, Dmitri wanted to help and would do his best to treat the little reindeer like he would’ve treated any human who came into the hospital with an injury.
What Caused The Injury?
Dmitri carried the tiny reindeer to a little stream and cleaned the wound. As soon as all the mud washed off, he saw what caused the problem.
Embedded in the reindeer’s skin was a piece of metal that looked like a bullet fragment. Dmitri idly wondered if the man with the gun could’ve been responsible for this.
It Wasn’t Enough
After cleaning the wound, Dmitri pushed some leaves onto it, hoping it would help control the bleeding, but he knew it wouldn’t be enough.
That wound could be a death sentence for such a young reindeer. It needed to get to a vet and fast. But they were in the middle of the forest, and as far as Dmitri knew, the road was at least a day's walk away.
But Dmitri couldn’t just leave the reindeer there to die. So using the last of his strength, he lifted the little critter into his arms and started the long walk back to the road.
With all the excitement of the day rushing through his mind, Dmitri is walking faster than he did before, and in a matter of hours, he’s back on the road.
It Took A While
The sun was setting, and Dmitri now faced two new problems. When it was dark, not many people took that road. And most of them wouldn’t pick up a stranger at night.
But he was still determined, and eventually, the seventh car to drive past him decided to stop. A middle-aged woman got out and called Dmitri over. This was his only chance, and he couldn’t risk losing it.